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Older Victorians Urged to Sign Up for Free Monitoring Service

Victorian Minister for Housing Wendy Lovell has urged older public housing tenants who live alone to sign up to the free monitoring service – Keeping in Touch.

Ms Lovell made the call while having morning tea with residents of the Hanmer Street Estate older people’s accommodation in Williamstown, as part of the International Day of Older Persons.

“Keeping in Touch is a wonderful way of ensuring peace of mind for older public housing tenants and their families and it’s simple and free to join,” Ms Lovell said.  “As part of the Keeping in Touch program, tenants who are 75 and older can sign up to receive a call once a week from Departmental staff, who make sure they are safe and well.

“If the tenant doesn’t answer after three attempts 15 minutes apart, staff will alert their designated emergency contact, usually a family member or friend, who can then check that the tenant is okay.

“Tips are also offered on how to beat the heat on Health Department designated ‘Heat Health Alert Days’,” Ms Lovell said.

Phil of metropolitan Melbourne is one tenant who knows the value of the Keeping in Touch program, after the Department was unable to make contact with him last month. Staff alerted Phil’s emergency contact and asked them to check on him. The contact reported that Phil had fallen and had been on the floor since that morning. Phil is still living independently, thanks to Keeping in Touch.

More than 6,000 public housing tenants are contacted every six months by Departmental staff who check their welfare and ask if they want to join the more than 1,000 tenants receiving additional weekly checks through the Keeping in Touch program.

“Our tenants, like all other Victorians, are entitled to privacy, but joining this program and receiving a friendly once-a-week phone call to make sure they’re okay could be a real life-saver,” Ms Lovell said.

The Keeping in Touch contact number is 1800 269 250 and can be called between 9am and 5pm weekdays.

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Alana Lowes

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